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tv   Politics Public Policy Today  CSPAN  June 20, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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those pages with authorization from the intelligence committee in the house. i've been given permission to read. steve lynch, who's a democrat from massachusetts, and i, along with thomas massey, have put in a resolution calling on the president to release the 28 pages. the 28 pages have nothing to do with security, nothing. it has more to do with relationships. that's about all i can say. but the families of the 9/11 have been calling for this. senator bob graham has been way up front on this calling for these 28 pages to be declassified. and he was on the 9/11 commission. to me, there is no freedom if the american people don't know the truth about one of the worst days in the history of our country. >> jerry, henderson, north carolina, democrat. is henderson in your district, sir? >> no, sir. >> okay.
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jerry, please go -- >> but i know where it is. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i have a question for the congressman and a follow-up. congressman, do you think it would have been right to keep american soldiers giving up their lives and limbs to fight in that country without being immunized from prosecution by the iraqi government? >> okay. what's your follow-up, sir? >> caller: my follow-up is that all these republicans, mccain and graham and everybody, talking about barack blew it. he didn't get the status of forces agreement. the reason he didn't get the agreement, because the iranians and maliki wanted to keep the soldiers there without being immuni immunized. and that's why the talks broke down, sir. >> jerry, i don't know in detail
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what your point -- excuse me, what you were saying. i'll just accept it, though. you're right. the iranians and maliki did not want our military there. so therefore, i don't think the president had any other option but to do what -- it's their country. whether we like it or not, it's their country. if the leader of their country says, we do not want the american troops here, then we need to follow the wishes of the leader of that country at that time. >> roger green tweets in, how do you view tea partiers? just americans taking back their country or right-wing radicals? >> citizens who believe in the constitution who want to take back america. i am not a tea party type person, but i am a conservative. and i lean toward being a libertarian. i can honestly say that anyone that believes that we should
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live by our constitution and, as a man of faith, the bible, i believe we'll have a better america if we can come back to those two docdocuments. >> you had a tough primary a month ago. >> sure did. we had the outside groups. peter, i have said that the two worst decisions by the united states supreme court since i have been in congress, row v. wade. i'm a pro-life member of the house. and citizens united. citizens united, i think, has created this situation where those who have -- i'm not opposed to people who have money. but i will tell you that quite truthfully, the influence of money is growing and growing and growing. and when you have outside groups to come to my district -- which they have a right to do -- and spend about $1.4 million, that's a lot of money in eastern north carolina. especially to buy tv.
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just one ad after another ad. distortion, lies, and misrepresentations. and we had 123,000 to defend us, ten to one, and i thank god first and the people second that trust me to do what i think is right. we won the primary. we do have opposition in the november election. i will be working hard to win that. >> have you ever thought about stepping away from congress or not running for re-election? >> i am 71 years of age. god has given me an unbelievable amount of energy and fight. and i believe that either the people first or god first will say that you've lost that fight. i have the fight, and i'm fighting all the time up here for something good, i hope, most of the time. >> where do you think, if your
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father were alive today and it were in congress, would he be a republican? would he still be a democrat? >> you know, it's hard to say. he knew before he died that i was thinking about changing my party affiliation. we had a conversation, and i think that he understood my frustration. he agreed with some of the frustration. i'll tell you the truth. i said recently that with this world we live in of fundraising, fundraising, fundraising, i'm not sure he would even run today. but, no, he was a conservative democrat. of course, when he became chairman of committee, which happens to both parties, by the way, he became less conservative. those things happen when you become a chairman. you can't always stand for your principles. that's why i like being an independent-thinking person who believes certain value systems, and i try to stand by my
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principles and take the hits that come with it. >> congressman -- >> a reminder, you can watch our entire discussion with congressman water jones any time at c-span.org. this afternoon, we're going to take you live to the pentagon for a briefing with press secretary rear admiral john kirby. we expect to hear more about president obama's announcement yesterday that he'd be sending 300 military advisers to iraq as violence has escalated in that country. that briefing scheduled for 1:00 p.m. eastern will be live here on c-span3. president obama awarded the medal of honor to marine corporal william kyle carpenter, who was severely injured in afghanistan in november 2010. while manning a rooftop post in the helmand province, corporal carpenter covered a grenade with his body in order to save the life of a fellow marine. the ceremony from thursday is just over 20 minutes.
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♪ >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states and mrs. michelle obama accompanied by medal of honor recipient corporal william kyle carpenter. ♪ >> if you would, please pray with me. almighty god, we pause at the beginning of this historic event to ask for your presence in this place. allow your spirit to move among all of us gathered here, that as we give honor to one who
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demonstrated the virtues on which this nation was founded, we would be reminded again of your grace that has allowed this country its freedoms that so many like corporal kyle carpenter have sacrificed to defend. god, we would ask that you would hear our gratitude for molding corporal carpenter's character through the love of his gracious family, and the support of his countless friends and mentors. know of our deep appreciation for this marine's faithfulness, that when faced that day when the crucible of self-preservation or self-sacrifice, he responded with valor and intrepidity to safeguard the life of his friend nick. now as the nation's highest award for such selflessness and courage is draped around corp. wall carpenter's nick, encircle him with the depth of your steadfast love.
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sanctify his inner most and unspoken thoughts, so that as he carries the unfathomable weight of this honor, he will be emboldened to speak on behalf of and encourage those whose untold sacrifices and humble service need his firm and compassionate voice. we lift up in prayer all those who remain in harm's way throughout the globe, and pray your abiding grace on the families and friends of the marines, sailors, soldiers, airmen and coast guardsmen who have given their lives in service to this country. bestow your wisdom on those who lead this nation and shape its endeavors. may all of us as americans yield ourselves to your divine guidance and follow the example of these our heros, who loved country more than self, and mercy more than life. god bless america. amen. >> amen. >> thank you, everybody.
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please be seated. on behalf of michele and myself, welcome to the white house. the man you see before you today corporal william kyle carpenter, should not be alive today. hand grenades are one of the most awful weapons of war. they only weigh about a pound but packed with tnt. if one lands nearby, you have mere seconds to seek cover. when it detonates, its fragments shoot out in every direction and even at a distance, that spray of shrapnel can inflict devastating injuries on the human body. up close, it's almost certain death. but we are here because this
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man, this united states marine, faced down that terrible explosive power, that unforgiving force, with his own body. willingly and deliberately to protect a fellow marine. when that grenade exploded, kyle carpenter's body took the brunt of the blast. his injuries were called catastrophic. it seemed as if he was going to die. while being treated, he went into cardiac arrest and three times he flatlined. three times doctors brought him back. along with his parents, who call kyle's survival our miracle, we thank god they did. because with that singular act of courage, kyle, you not only
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saved your brother in arms, you displayed a heroism in the blink of an eye that will inspire for generations. valor worthy of our nation's highest military declaration, the medal of honor. now, kyle and i have actually met before during his long recovery at walter reed, he and some of our other wounded warriors came to the white house to celebrate the world series champion st. louis cardinals. some of you may be aware, i am a white sox fan. kyle likes the braves. so it was a tough day for both of us. but after the ceremony, michelle and i had a chance to meet kyle, and at the time he was still undergoing surgeries. but he was up a and walking and he was working his way toward being independent again, towards the man you see here today. and kyle, the main message we
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want to send is welcome back. we are so proud to have you here. we just spent some time not just with kyle but also with his wonderful family. and anybody who has had a chance to get to know this young man knows you're not going to get a better example of what you want in an american or a marine. despite all of the attention, he's still the same humble guy from gilbert, south carolina, population of about 600. i guess today it's only population 590 something. these days, he's also at the university of south carolina, just a normal college student, he says, cheering for the gamecocks. you'll notice that kyle doesn't
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hide his scars. he's proud of them and the service that they represent. and now he tells me this and, you know, so i'm just quoting him, he says the girls definitely like him. so he's working an angle on this thing. you know, i wasn't sure if i was supposed to say that in front of mom, but there is a quote there. in addition to our many distinguished guests, i want to welcome those who made this man the marine that he is. kyle's father jim, kyle's lovely mom robin, and his brothers price and peyton, one of whom is going to be joining kyle at south carolina, another gamecock, and then one who is going to be at the citadel. we also have kyle's marine brothers who served with him in afghanistan and through his recovery. and i also want to welcome the members of the medal of honor
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society whose ranks kyle joins today. kyle and his fellow marines served during the surge of forces that i ordered to afghanistan early in my presidency. their mission was to drive the taliban out of their strongholds, protect the afghan people, and give them a chance to reclaim their communities. kyle and his platoon were in helmand province pushing their way across open fields and muddy canals, bearing their heavy packs even as it could heat up to 115 degrees. in one small village, they turned a dusty compound into their base. the insurgents nearby gave their answer with sniper fire and automatic weapon fire and rocket-propelled grenades. that morning, kyle said, our alarm clock was ak-47 fire. some of the men were by their bunks, gearing up for another day. some were heating up their mres.
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some were in makeshift op centers, a simple mud building, planning the day's patrols. up on the roof behind a circle of sandbags, two marines manned their posts. kyle and lance corporal nicolas afranzo. the compound started to take fire. seeking cover, kyle and nick laid down low on their backs behind those sandbags. and then the grenade landed with a thud. its pin pulled. it was about to explode. and kyles into memory of -- kyle has no memory of what happened next. what we know is there on that rooftop he wasn't just with a fellow marine, he was with his best friend. kyle and nick had met in training, in afghanistan they patrolled together day and night, a friendship forged in fire, kyle says about nick he
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was my point man and i loved him like a brother. when the grenade landed, other marines in the compound looked up and saw it happen. kyle tried to stand. he lunged forward toward that grenade and then he disappeared into the blast. keep in mind at the time, kyle was just 21 years old. but in that instant he fulfilled those words of scripture, ready to love, no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. they found kyle lying face down directly over the blast area his helmet riddled with holes, his helmet melted, part of his kevlar vest blown away, one of the doctors who treated him later said kyle was wounded from the top of his head to his feet. and for a moment kyle was still conscious. his eyes were open but he couldn't see.
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kyle remembers everything went white. and yet, even then his thoughts were not of himself. one of the marines who was there remembers how kyle kept asking one question, and that was whether nick was okay. and then as kyle's strength drained away, he sensed the end was coming. so according to kyle's memories, my last thought was to make peace with god. i asked for his forgiveness. i was trying to make the best and most of my last few seconds here on earth. the medal of honor is presented for gallantry on the battlefield. but today, we also recognize kyle carpenter for his valor since in the hard fight for recovery. eventually kyle woke up after five weeks in a coma. i want you to consider what kyle has endured just to stand here today.
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more than two and a half years in the hospital, grueling rehabilitation, brain surgery to remove shrapnel from his head, nearly 40 surgeries to repair a collapsed lung, fractured fingers, a shattered right arm, broken in more than 30 places, multiple skin grafts, he has a new prosthetic eye, new jaw, new teeth. and one hell of a smile. and kyle's the first to give credit elsewhere. his doctors at bethesda, he says, put me back together well. today is a reminder that in past wars somebody with injuries as severe as kyle's probably wouldn't have survived. so many of our wounded warriors from today's wars are alive not just because of a remarkable advances in technology, but primarily because of the extraordinary dedication and skill of our military and va medical professionals.
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so we need to keep doing everything we can in our power to give our wounded warriors and those who treat them the support that they need, and i think this is a wonderful opportunity to ask doctors deborah malone and lauren greer and the rest of kyle's medical team who are here to please stand. i see their amazing work every time i visit bethesda, every time i visited walter reed. it's pretty rare where you got a job you just know you're doing god's work every single day and they do an incredible job. thank you. [ applause ] thank you. thank you for the miracles you work for our wounded troops and veterans. now kyle says he'll wear this
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medal for all who serve and for those who didn't make it back and for those who struggle still. so today we honor two members of his team who made the ultimate sacrifice in that deployment, kyle's friends lance corporal timothy jackson of corbin, kentucky, and lance corporal dakota r. hughes of greenwood, louisiana. and our thoughts are also with the marine who kyle saved that day, his brother nick. i had the opportunity to meet nick as well nearly two years after the blast on one of my visits to walter reed. nick also suffered grievous wounds. as a result of traumatic brain injury, he couldn't speak for more than a year. he also endured multiple surgeries. today his recovery continues. he lives at home with his family in plymouth, massachusetts, where he is watching this ceremony.
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nick, on behalf of all of us, i want you to know we honor your sacrifice as well. your perseverance is an inspiration, and just as kyle was there for you, our nation will be there for you and your family as you go stronger in the years ahead. if any of our wounded warriors seek an example -- let me amend that. if any american seeks a model of the strength and resilience that define us as a people, including this newest 9/11 generation, i want you to consider kyle. after everything he's been through, he skis, he snowboards, he's jumped from a plane with a parachute, thankfully, he trudged through a six-mile mud run, completed the marine corps marathon, says he wants to do a triathlon. he's a motivational speaker,
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an advocate for his fellow wounded warriors. he's thinking about majoring in psychology so he can use his own experiences to help others. he got stellar grades. and by the way he's only 24 years old. and says, i'm just getting started. in other words, kyle is a shining example of what our nation needs to encourage. veterans who come home and use their incredible skills and talents to keep our country strong and we can all learn from kyle's example. as we prepare for the reading of the citation, i would like to close with his own words. a message i think for every american. it took a life-changing event to get me to truly appreciate the precious and amazing life i have been blessed with. please take it from me, enjoy every day to the fullest. don't take life too seriously. always try to make it count. appreciate the small and simple things. be kind and help others. let the ones you love always
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know you love them and when things get hard, trust there is a bigger plan and you will be stronger for it. pretty good message. corporal william kyle carpenter should not be alive today, but the fact that he is, gives us reason to trust that there is, indeed, a bigger plan. god bless you, kyle, god bless all who serve and protect the precious and amazing life that we are blessed with. may god continue to bless and keep strong the united states of america. semper fi. [ applause ] >> the president of the united states in the name of the congress, takes pleasure in presenting the medal of honor to lance corporal william kyle carpenter, united states marine
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corps. for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty serving as an automatic rifleman with company f, ninth marines, regimental combat team one, first marine division forward, first marine expeditionary force forward, in helmand province, afghanistan, in support of operation enduring freedom on 21 november 2010. lance corporal carpenter was a member of a platoon size coalition force comprised of two reinfors -- reinforced marine rifle squads, partnered with an afghan national army squad. the platoon established control base dakota in a small village in the marsh district to disrupt enemy activity and provide security for the local afghan population. lance corporal carpenter and a fellow marine were manning a rooftop security position on the perimeter of patrol base dakota
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when the enemy initiated a daylight attack with hand grenades, one of which landed inside their sandbag position. without hesitation, and with complete disregard for his own safety, lance corporal carpenter moved towards the grenade in an attempt to shield his fellow marine from the deadly blast. when the grenade detonated his body absorbed the brunt of the blast severely wounded him but saving the life of his fellow marine. by his undaunted courage, bold fighting spirit, and unwavering devotion to duty in the face of almost certain death, lance corporal carpenter reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the marine corps and united states naval service. [ applause ]
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[ applause ] >> let us pray. gracious god, may this ceremony serve as a reminder of the responsibility that comes with receiving the grace gift of freedom. and as we depart this hallowed hall and return to our daily lives, we pray that you would ennoble and empower us that when called upon, we would represent the resolute fearlessness of corporal kyle carpenter and all those who wear the stars of
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valor and live up to our responsibilities bringing honor to you and to this country. it's in the strength of your name we pray, amen. >> well, that brings us to the conclusion of this ceremony, but not the reception and party. and so i want to thank everybody again for being here. especially kyle's wonderful family and his parents. and i understand that the food here at the white house is pretty good. so i already told kyle's brothers they should be chowing down, but that goes for everybody else as well. and i think the drinks are free. i don't know -- it's still nearly the afternoon. all right. thank you very much, everybody. let's give one more round of applause to our latest medal of honor winner, kyle carpenter. [ applause ]
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coming up in about an hour and a half, we'll take you live to the pentagon for a briefing with press secretary rear admiral john kirby. we expect to hear more about president obama's announcement yesterday that he'd be sending 300 military advisers to iraq as violence as escalated in that country. that briefing scheduled for 1:00 p.m. eastern will be live here on c-span3. during his announcement yesterday, president obama repeated that american combat troops will not be returning to iraq and urged the iraqi government to move quickly on the formation of their government. following a statement, the president took a few questions from reporters. >> good afternoon, everybody. i just met with my national security team to discuss the
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situation in iraq. we've been meeting regularly to review the situation since isis, a terrorist operation in iraq and afghanistan, made advances inside of iraq. as i said last week, they pose a threat to the iraqi people, to the region, and to u.s. interests. so today i wanted to provide you an update on how we're responding to the situation. first, we are working to secure our embassy and personnel operating inside of iraq. as president, i have no greater priority than the safety of our men and women serving overseas. so i've taken some steps to relocate some of our embassy personnel, and we've sent re-enforcements to better secure our facilities. second, at my direction, we have significantly increased our intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets so we have a better picture of what's taking place inside of iraq. and this will give us a greater understanding of what isil is
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doing, what it's located, and how we might support efforts to counter this threat. third, the united states will continue to increase our support to iraqi security forces. we're prepared to create joint operations centers in baghdad and northern iraq to share intelligence and coordinate planning to confront the terrorist threat of isil. through our new counterterrorism partnership fund, we're prepared to work with congress to provide additional equipment. we have had advisers in iraq through our embassy, and we're prepared to send a small number of additional american military advisers, up to 300, to assess how we can best train, advise, and support iraqi security forces going forward. american forces will not be returning to combat in iraq. but we will help iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the iraqi people, the region, and american interests as well. fourth, in recent days, we've
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positioned additional u.s. military assets in the region. because of our increased intelligence resources, we're developing more information about potential targets associated with isil, and going forward, we'll be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we determine that the situation on the ground requires it. if we do, i will consult closely with congress and leaders in iraq and in the region. i want to emphasize, though, that the best and most effective response to a threat like isil will ultimately involve partnerships where local forces like iraqis take the lead. finally, the united states will lead a diplomatic effort to work with iraqi leaders and the countries in the region to support stability in iraq. at my direction, secretary kerry will depart this weekend for meetings in the middle east and europe where he'll be able to consult with our allies and
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partners, and just as all iraqi's neighbors must respect their territorial integrity, all of iraq's neighbors have a vital interest in ensuring iraq does not descend into civil war. above all, iraqi leaders must rise above their differences and come together around a political plan for iraq's future. shia, sunni, kurds, all iraqis must have confidence that they can advance their interests and aspirations through the political process rather than through violence. national unity meetings have to go forward to build consensus across iraq's different communities. now that the results of iraq's recent election has been certified, a new parliament should con convenience as soon as possible. the formation of a new government will be an opportunity to begin a genuine dialogue and forge a government that represents the legitimate interests of all iraqis. now, it's not the place for the
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united states to choose iraq's leaders. it is clear, though, that only leaders that can govern with an inclusive agenda are going to be able to truly bring the iraqi people together and help them through this crisis. meanwhile, the united states will not pursue military options to support one sect inside of iraq at the expense of another. there's no military solution inside of iraq, certainly not one that is led by the united states. but there is an urgent need for an inclusive political process, a more capable iraqi security force, and counterterrorism groups that deny groups like isil a safe haven. in closing, recent days have reminded us of the deep scars left by america's war in iraq. alongside the loss of nearly 4500 american patriots, many veterans carry the wounds of that war and will for the rest of their lives. here at home, iraq sparked vigorous debates and intense
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emotions in the past, and we've seen some of those debates resurface. but what's clear from the last decade is the need for the united states to ask hard questions before we take action abroad, particularly military action. so the most important question we should all be asking, the issue that we have to keep front and center, the issue that i keep front and center, is what is in the national security interest of the united states of america? as commander in chief, that's what i stay focused on. as americans, that's what all of us should be focused on. in going forward, we'll continue to consult closely with congress. we will keep the american people informed. we will remain vigilant, and we'll continue to do everything in our power to protect the security of the united states and the safety of the american people. so with that, i'm going to take a couple of questions. i'll start with colleen mccain nelson of "the wall street
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journal." >> thank you, mr. president. do you have any confidence in prime minister maliki at this point? and can maliki bring political stability to iraq? >> as i said, it's not our job to choose iraq's leaders. part of what our patriots fought for during many years in iraq was the right and the opportunity for iraqis to determine their own destiny and choose their own leaders. but i don't think there's any secret that right now at least there is deep divisions between sunni, shia, and kurdish leaders. and as long as those deep divisions continue or worsen, it's going to be very hard for an iraqi central government to direct an iraqi military to deal with these threats. and so we've consulted with prime minister maliki and said to him privately, we've said it
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publicly, that whether he is prime minister orlead leader aspires to lead the country, it has to be an agenda in which sunni, shia, and kurd all feel they have the opportunity to advance their interests through the political process. and we've seen over the last two years -- actually, dating back to 2008, 2009. but i think worse over the last two years the sense among sunnis that their interests were not being served, that legislation that had been promised had been stalled. i think you hear similar complaints that the government in baghdad has not sufficiently reached out to some of the tribes and been able to bring them in to a process that, you
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know, gives them a sense of being part of a unity government or a single nation state. and that has to be worked through. part of the reason why we saw better equipped iraqi security forces with larger numbers not be able to hold contested territory against isil probably reflects that lack of a sense of commitment on the part of sunni communities to work with baghdad. and that has to be fixed if we're going to get through this crisis. jim acosta. >> thank you, mr. president. americans may look at this decision that you're making today as a sneak preview of coming attractions. that the number of advisers you're planning to send in may just be the beginning of a boots on the ground scenario down the road.
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why is iraq's civil war in the national security interests of the united states, and are you concerned about the potential for mission creep? >> i think we always have to guard against mission creep. so let me repeat what i've said in the past. american combat troops are not going to be fighting in iraq again. we do not have the ability to simply solve this problem by sending in tens of thousands of troops and committing the kinds of blood and treasure that has already been expended in iraq. ultimately, this is something that is going to have to be solved by the iraqis. it is in our national security interests not to see an all-out civil war inside of iraq. not just for humanitarian reasons but because that ultimately can be destabilizing
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throughout the region, and in addition to having strong allies there that we are committed to protecting, obviously issues like energy and global energy markets continues to be important. we also have an interest in making sure we don't have a safe haven that continues to grow for isil and other extremist jihadist groups who could use that as a base of operations for planning and targeting ourselves, our personnel overseas, and eventually the homeland. if they accumulate more money, they accumulate more ammunition, more military capability, larger numbers, that poses great dangers not just to allies of ours like jordan, which is very close by, but it also poses, you
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know, a great danger potentially to europe and ultimately the united states. we have already seen inside of syria that groups like isil that right now are fighting with other extremist groups or an assad regime that was nonresponsive to sunni majority there, that that has attracted more and more jihadists or would-be jihadists, some of them from europe. they then start traveling back to europe, and that, over time, can create a cadre of terrorists that could harm us. so we have humanitarian interests in preventing bloodsh bloodshed. we have strategic interests in stability in the region. all those have to be addressed. the national effort for us to
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get situational awareness through, you know, the reconnaissance and surveillance that we've already done coupled with some of our best people on the ground doing assessments of exactly what the situation is, starting, by the way, with the perimeter around baghdad and making sure that's not overrun. that's a good investment for us to make. but that does not foreshadow a larger commitment of troops to actually fight in iraq. that would not be effective in meeting the core interests that we have. >> just real quick, do you wish you had left a residual force in iraq? any regrets about that decision in 2011? >> well, keep in mind, that wasn't a decision made by me. that was a decision made by the iraqi government. we offered a modest residual force to help continue to train and advise iraqi security forces. we had a core requirement, which
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we require in any situation where we have u.s. troops overseas. and that is that they are provided immunity at the -- since they are being invited by the sovereign government there so that if, for example, they end up acting in self-defense, if they are attacked and find themselves in a tough situation, that they're not somehow hauled before a foreign court. that's a core requirement that we have for u.s. troop presence anywhere. the iraqi government and prime minister maliki declined to provide us that immunity. and so i think it is important, though, to recognize that despite that decision, that we have continued to provide them with very intensive advice and support and have continued throughout this process over the
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last five years to not only offer them our assistance militarily, but we've also continued to urge the kinds of political compromises that we think are ultimately necessary in order for them to have a functioning multisectarian democracy inside the country. julia. >> mr. president, you just mentioned syria a moment ago. united states has been slow to provide significant weapons and training directly to the syrian opposition. has the expansion of the syria war into iraq changed your mind about the type of weapons and training you are now willing to give the opposition there? is that what prompted secretary kerry to say we are augments our assistance in significant ways. >> you know, that assessment about the dangers of what was happening in syria have existed
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since we -- since the very beginning of the syrian civil war. the question hasser never been whether we thought this was a serious problem. the question has always been, is there the capacity of moderate opposition on the ground to absorb and counteract extremists that might have been pouring in as well as an assad regime supported by iran and russia that outmanned them and was ruthless. and so we have consistently provided that opposition with support. oftentimes the challenge is if you have former farmers or teachers or pharmacists who now are taking up opposition against
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a battle-hardened regime with support from external actors that have a lot at stake, how quickly can you get them trained? how effective are you able to mobilize them? and, you know, that continues to be a challenge. and even before the situation that we saw with isil going into iraq, we had already tried to maximize what we can do to support moderate opposition that not only can counteract the brutality of assad but also can make sure that in the minds of sunnis, they don't think that their only alternative is either mr. assad or extremist groups like isil or al nusra. >> can you speak to what you might be doing differently as the secretary of state alluded to? >> i think the key to both syria
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and iraq is going to be a combination of what happens inside the country working with moderate syrian opposition, working with an iraqi government that is inclusive, and us laying down a more effective counterterrorism platform that gets all the countries in the region pulling in the same direction. and i alluded to this in the west point speech. i talked about it today with respect to the counterterrorism partnership fund. there's going to be a long-term problem in this region in which we have to build and partner with countries that are committed to our interests, our values, and at the same time, we
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have immediate problems with terrorist organizations that may be advancing. and rather than try to play whack-a-mole wherever these terrorist organizations may pop up, what we have to do is be able to build effective partnerships, make sure that they have capacity. some of the assets that have been devoted solely to afghanistan over the last decade we've got to shift to make sure that we have coverage in the middle east and north africa. you look at a country like yemen, a very impoverished country, and one that has its own sectarian or ethnic divisions. we do have a committed partner in president hadi and his government, and we have been able to help to develop their capacities without putting large numbers of u.s. troops on the ground.
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at the same time as we've got enough ct, or counterterrorism, capabilities that we're able to go after folks that might try to hit our embassy or might be trying to export terrorism into europe or the united states. and looking at how we can create more of those models is going to be part of the solution in dealing with both syria and iraq. but in order for us to do that, we still need to have actual governments on the ground that we can partner with and that we've got some confidence are going to pursue the political policies of inclusiveness. in yemen, for example, a wide-ranging national dialogue that took a long time but helped to give people a sense that there is a legitimate political outlet for grievances that they may have. peter. >> thank you, sir. going back to where you see
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prime minister maliki playing a role at this point, you said that it's a time to rise above differences, that there's a need for more inclusive government. is he a unifier? how much clout how much clout d united states ultimately have with any of the leadership in iraq at this point, really? well, we still provide them significant assistance. i think they recognize that unlike some other players in the region we don't have territorial ambitions in their country. we're not looking to control their assets or their energy. we want to make sure we're vined kath the enormous effort and sacrifice that was made by our troops in giving them an opportunity to build a stable, inclusive society that can prosper and deliver for the basic needs and aspirations of the iraqi people, and at the
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same time they are a sovereign country. they have their own politics, and what we have tried to do is to give them our best advice about how they can solve their political problems now that they are in crisis we are indicating to them that there's not going to be a simple, military solution to this issue if you start seeing the various groups inside of iraq simply go to their respective corners. then it is almost certain that baghdad and the central government will not be able to control huge chunks of their own country. the only way they can do that is if there are credible sunni leaders, both at the national
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level and at the local level that have confidence that a shia majority that the kurds, that all those folks are committed to a fair and just governance of the country. right now that doesn't exist. there's too much suspicion and too much mistrust and the good news is that an election took place in which despite all this mistrust, despite all this frustration, despite all this anger you still have millions of iraqis turn out. in some cases in very dangerous circumstances. you now have a court that has certified those elections and you have a constitutional process to advance government formation. so far, at least the one bit of encouraging news we've seen inside of iraq that all of the
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parties said they continue to be committed to choosing a leadership and a government through the existing constitutional order. so what you're seeing, i think, is as the prospects of civil war and many iraqi leaders stepping back and saying let's not plunge back into the abyss. let's see if we can follow this politically and you have a group like isil that is doing everything it can to descend the country back into chaos and so one of the messages that we have for mr. maliki and also for the speaker of the house and, you know, the other leadership inside of iraq is get going on this government formation. and it will make it a lot easier for them to shape a military
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strategy. it will also make it possible for us to partner much more effectively than we can currently. >> given the prime minister's track record, is he a unifier. can can he play that role after what we've seen play out over the last couple of weeks? >> i think the test is before him and other iraqi leaders, as we speak. right now they can make a series of decisions. regardless of what's happened in the past, right now is the moment where the fate of iraq hangs in the balance and the test for all of them is going to be whether they can overcome the mistrust, the deep sectarian divisions. in some cases just political opportunism and say this is bigger than any one of us and we have to make sure that we do what's right for the iraqi people and that's a challenge. that's not something that the
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united states can do for them. that's not something, by the way, that the united states armed forces can do for them. we can provide them the space. we can provide them the tool, but ultimately they'll have to make those decisions. in the meantime, my job is to make sure that american personnel there are safe, that we are consulting with the iraqi security forces, that we're getting a better assessment of what's on the ground and that we're recognizing the dangers of isil over the long term and developing the kinds of comprehensive counterterrorism strategies that we'll need to deal with this issue and that's going to involve some short-term responses to make sure that isil is not obtaining capacity to
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endanger us directly or our allies and partners, but it will also require some long-term strategy, as well, because part of what we've seen with respect to isil is a broader trend that i talked about at west point, a -- rather than a single network, a discreet network of terrorists and this fluid combination of hardened terrorists, disaffected, local leadership and where there's vacuums and they're filling it and creating the potential for serious danger for all concerned. all right? >> thank you very much. >> any words ones what you were willing to do and willing to work with? >> our view is that iran can play a constructive role if it
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is helping to send the same message to the iraqi government that we're sending which is that iraq only holds together if it's inclusive and if in the interests of sunni, shia and kurd are all respected. if iran is coming in solely as an armed force on behalf of the shia and if it is framed in that fashion, then that probably worsens the situation and the prospect for government formation that would actually be constructed over the long term. >> what sense do you have right now? >> well, i think just as iraq's leaders have to make decisions, i think iran has heard from us. we've indicated to them that it is important for them to avoid
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steps that might encourage the kind of sectarian splits that might lead to civil war, and, you know, the one thing that i think is -- has to be emphasized, we have deep difference wes iran across the board on a whole host of issues. obviously, what's happened in syria in part is a result of iran coming in hot and heavy on one side, and iran obviously should consider that iran -- if its view of the region is solely through sectarian frames they could find themselves fighting in a whole lot of places and that's probably not good for the iranian economy or the iranian people over the long term
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either. i suspect there are folks in iran who recognize that, and iraq and chaos on their borders is probably not in their interests, but old habits die hard and we'll have to see whether they can take what i think would be a more promising path over the next several days. all right? thank you very much, everybody. - >> with live coverage of the u.s. house on c span and the senate on cspan 2. here on c-span-3 we compliment that coverage by showing you the public affairs events and on weekends cspan 3 is host to american history tv with programs that tell the nation's story including six unique series. the civil war's 160th
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anniversary, american artifact, touring museums and cover what it reveals about america's past. history bookshelf with american history writers. the presidency, looking at policies and legacies of our nation's commanders in chief. lectures in history with top college professors delving into america's past. our new seary, real america featuring archival government and educational films through the 1930s and the '70s. c-span3 created by the cable tv industry and funded by your local cable and satellite provider. like us on facebook and follow us on twitter. >> live here at the pentagon for a briefing shortly with press secretary rear admiral john kirby. we expect to hear more about president obama's announcement yesterday that he'd be sending 300 military advisers to iraq as violence has escalated in that country. also some questions potentially on the department's budget.
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the u.s. house this hour overwhelmingly approved a $570 billion an spending bill that's just under $80 billion currently included for the war in afghanistan. that house vote was 340-73. we're awaiting a briefing with pentagon press secretary john kirby. you are watching live coverage here on c-span3.
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>> it's a shorter walk. it's a shorter walk. okay. just a couple of quick announcements and then we'll get to your questions. first on schedule. which you may know this morning secretary hagel met with new zealand prime minister john key here at the pentagon. the secretary expressed his appreciation for new zealand's important contributions in afghanistan and for the renewed growth in u.s.-new zealand defense engagements. the secretary and the prime minister also discussed developments in iraq, afghanistan and of course, the asia pacific region. in just a little more than an hour from now at 2:15 the secretary will make remarks at the hall of heroes induction ceremony for the newest marine corporal william kyle carpenter. we all share the nation's pride in corporal carpenter's bravery and you will hear the the
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secretary reiterate as well as for the sacrifices corporal carpenter made and was willing to make to save his fellow marines. for next week the secretary will host the norwegian minister of defense on tuesday and on thursday he will host the italian minister of defense. secondly, just an update on the secretary's military health system review. the department has identified seven military treatment facilities that will participate in the site visit component of this review. they will include san diego naval hospital which will be visited today. madiga army hospital in fort lewis, and fort georgia, lake and heath air force hospital in england and in the capital region and the air force academy clinic and the patuxet in maryland. the site team will include 20 health care professionals to include some flag and general officers. the routines will meet with facility staff to assess the quality of care and access to that care and think, patient
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safety at each of these facilities. additionally, the teams will hold two town hall sessions at each site. one for faculty and staff and then one for beneficiaries of the care, and with that i'll take some questions. bob? >> do you have details at all about this incident in afghanistan, southern afghanistan where three people were killed? were they americans and can you bring us up-to-date on the military advisory mission in iraq as to who is there now? >> first, no,ioent. i'm seeing initial reports same as you and i don't have any content to provide. as information becomes available and we can share it we certainly will. on the advisory mission in iraq, as you know, the president made it it very clear what his intentions are. i want to remind everybody that the first -- the first set of teams that will be going in will be largely assessment teams and they'll be doing three things.
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they're going to be assessing the state, the cohesiveness and capability of the iraqi security forces and they're going to be assessing the situation on the ground for us to help us gain more intelligence and more information about what isil is doing and how they're doing it and then the third thing is quite frankly, to assess the feasibility and the future potential for follow-on advisory teams. we haven't had that kind of perspective in iraq for quite some time. so before we can flow in additional advisers, we've got to have a better sense of where they could best be employed, for how long, at what units and that kind of thing. [ inaudible question ] >> i think the president's direction was clear. of course, they will be providing more teams of advisers, but we've got to have -- just like in any unfolding situation like this,
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like even in a disaster relief operation, one of the first things you do is you deploy assessment teams before you start flowing in your support and that's where these first couple of teams will do for us. the -- so those first -- those first couple of teams will be drawn from personnel that are already there in iraq working at the office of security cooperation there through the embassy. so those first couple will be drawn, you know, from assets that are already intrinsic to iraq and then as i indicated yesterday, the rest of the advisers and teams that will come later, most of them will be remissioned from an inside central command responsibility. >> has work already begun then by the people who are already
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there? >> no. as i said, they will be -- these first couple of teams will be drawn from personnel that are already there, but those teams have not been, as we stand here today at 1:00, they have not been stood up right now. [ inaudible question ] >> everybody shares the proper sense of urgency here and everybody is working very hard. i think it will be very soon. very soon. yeah, phil? >> admiral, i have an iraq question, but i want to haask o quick follow-up on the review. can you tell us why those sites were selected? were they picked at random or were -- >> i can go into greater detail, but dlfs a deliberate decision to choose these seven facilities there. they're joint and they come from all of the difference services and they're speed geographically around the country, as well, and they're of varying size. in general, these were deemed to be seven good representative medical facilities for us to
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look at. and if the review calls for other site visits, then we'll certainly consider that, but these will be the the seven that we'll look at right now. >> on iraq, we learned yesterday that the u.s. has stepped up these surveillance flights. they're to include some areas that have 24-hour coverage. does that mean that there's surveillance aircraft operating from within iraq as from bases there and secondly, are there restrictions on the pohost natis that have potential military strikes as do host govern ams have objections to potentially launching attacks from their runways if the the president makes that decision? >> what was your first one again? >> are there aircraft that are doing surveillance based in iraq? >> all right. okay. so on the intelligence reconnaissance and surveillance support that we are providing right now from the air, it
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certainly has been intensifient. we now have -- we now are flying enough flights both manned and unmanned that it's around the clock coverage. we're not looking at the whole country and we're looking at parts of the country that are of greatest interest and manned and unmanned aircraft. the manned aircraft, i can tell you are both land and sea based. i won't get into specific platforms or for those that are land-based specific locations and on your other question, we greatly appreciate the support that we get from our partners in the region and -- and we try to respect whatever sensitivities they have about the level of cooperation that we get as much as we can. we try to respect that. so i would not, from here, get into, you know, the specifics of what those arrangements are and those agreements are. we -- we have good support from
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allies and partners there and we appreciate that. >> will they limit the ability to conduct air strikes if the president makes that decision? >> the president hasn't made that decision. so i don't think that getting into hypothetical arrangement discussions now about a decision he hasn't made is very helpful, what i would like to do is bring you back to what we're doing now and that is we've intensified isr coverage and that will continue, that we are now building some assessment teams. initially just a couple, but eventual willy it will grow to get us better eyes for what's going on both inside the iraqi security force and on the security situation on the ground and then, you know, once we have better and more full information about the situation, then a decision about any follow-on it activity can be made. we just aren't there yet in the process. jen? >> john, how concerned is the
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pentagon about the isis fighters taking over the almufena chemical weapons facility. are there weapons that could pose a throat anyone? >> any progress they've made has been of concern for us, clearly. on the specific question about this facility, it's an old facility and our best understanding and we don't have perfect information, but our best understanding is that the -- whatever material that was kept there is pretty old and not likely to be accessed or used against anyone right now. now again, information isn't perfect and any time, any
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progress they've made has been of concern, but i -- i -- we aren't viewing this particular site and they're holding it as a -- as a major issue at this point. should they even be able to access the materials it would likely be more of a threat to them anyone else. >> do you have assurances on that specifically? >> i'm i'm not aware of any iraqi assurances that's based on our own conclusions. yeah. barb? >> because you're going to have these units eventually in northern iraq to collect intelligence on isis especially in northern iraq, how certain -- one, the question is force protection, how certain are you that, number one, you can protect the safety of the u.s. troops you send and number two, if they do get into a fire fight, if they get wounded or
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hurt, are you absolutely -- is the department absolutely certain you can get them out to the correct level of trauma care within the hour? does the golden hour apply in this situation? can you get them out? >>. >> first protection is always a priority and it remains high priority for the secretary and for the department, no question about that. these teams will be, as you said, will be assessing and advising. they will -- they are not being sent to participate in combat. their role is not combat mission and this is not unusual. i mean, these are the kind of missions that we perform all over the world with other militaries in africa and the pacific region all over the place and the americas, force
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protection remainses a priority and we don't talk about the details about how we go about enforcing that. they -- these advisers just like troops that are doing typical and the other advising missions elsewhere around the world have the right of self-defense if they need to, and obviously, just like anywhere else in the world if there is a situation where we need to get them to medical care we'll do it as quickly as we possibly can. >> this is a combat zone, in fact, it's not just somewhere in the world where you have military advisers. this is a hot combat zone. so -- and the golden hour has always applied in iraq and afghanistan, so does it still apply in iraq and, by the way, are they getting combat hazard pay? >> our combat mission in iraq ended in 2011.
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this is not a combat mission. [ inaudible question ] >> this is not a combat mission. these personnel are going to be doing assessments and eventually helping us with advisory missions and helping gather intelligence, barb. that's just the way it is. it is not a combat mission. i don't have details here today about the, you know, the pay and benefits issue. i'm happy to take that back and take a look at it it, but this is not a combat mission and if somebody gets hurt wherever they get hurt around the world we do what we can to get them to the medical care as quickly as possible. joe? >> isis is of influence, it's spread all over the northern part of iraq and also in the northeastern part of syria and why targeting isis in iraq? do they counter isis in syria, for example?
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we're not at the targeting phase here, joe. the president made it it clear that the mission right now has increased. and it is to get information. so we've intensified isr over the the country and we'll be getting them into advisers and to help among many things, helping us gain a better sight picture about what's going on. we haven't been present inside iraq within any mass since 2011. so there's a lot to learn, a lot to gain here. that's the mission we've been assigned and that's what we're focused on. your question presumes that the decision to strike is coming or that it's inevitable or that it has to be done, and i just don't believe that that's where we are right now. >> the advisory mission is part of a process to counter isis. so why not assess the situation
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capabilities on the border with syria? that's my question. >> you're right. part of the mission is to assess isil. i said that at the outset. three thing, one of them is to assess isil and that is what they're going to be doing. >> do you have the total number of military personnel in iraq with the 300 advisers that are going? >> well, the president said up to 300 advisers. it may not reach that level. we have -- we have assessment teams to flow in there. so as we speak today there are the less than 200 that were already assigned to the office of security and that we have maintained that basic level of staffing since the combat mission ended in 2011. since then, as you know, over the last weekend, we brought in another 170 to assist with static security requirements at the embassy and associated
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facilities. that's the total right now. so it's roughly 350 to 370, something like that. i don't have the exact number that are attached to osci, but it's less than 400 total inside iraq right now. yes, ma'am. upon. >> thank you. . it's my understanding that these military advisers have been granted immunity from prosecution in iraq. did you confirm that and what assurances have you been given specifically by the iraqi government. >> a couple of things i'd like to say is one is that we're performing these missions at the request of the iraqi government. so this isn't an invasion. we're doing this at the request and consultation with the iraqi government. as we do elsewhere around the world we will ensure that our troops have the appropriate legal protections and immunity is -- that's not a fair way of
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characterizing this. it's legal protections so that they can operate as they need to operate, and i can assure you that they will have those protections. >> but you don't have a -- there are places where we do these kind of missions where you don't need to have a sofa. as long as you have a process to where those legal protections will be ensured. >> where do you operate where you don't have a sofa? >> there are other places and i'll get back to you on that, but let's not get hung up on the the document here. we're going to ensure that they have the legal protections they need. >> i'm hung up on the document, though. >> yeah. >> so is this something dint than diplomatic immunity that the office of security has been operating under? is there a new agreement with the maliki government for these specific advisers? >> we are in constant
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consultation with the iraqi governments about these arrangements and about these extra personnel, and i can assure you that they will have the legal protections they need. upon. >> will you ask for full immunity? >> it's not -- it's -- it's about making sure, usually these legal protections are about making sure if an incident happens that the individual is -- has due process through the -- through the military justice system. that's what we're talking about. >> do you have it in writing from the iraqis? do you have something in writing to that effect or is that just a gentleman's agreement between the diplomats who are over there? >> we are -- we're working carefully through the iraqi government. they will have the protections they need. >> does that affect the timing of the arrival of these advisers? >> no. as i said, the first -- the first -- >> they haven't been tasked yet, those guys. >> no, but they -- but they --
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we intend -- they will be and i am confident that the legal protections that are needed will be in place. they will be in place. >> those guys are there as part of the embassy, the people that are already there, so they have the protection and the same protection as diplomats. the question is the follow-on teams. >> right. >> or the timing of the follow-on teams. i do not anticipate any challenge to the timing of the follow-on teams as a result of this issue. we'll work with this very carefully and closely with the iraqi government and i can assure you they'll have the legal protections they need. >> very, very soon. i can't give you a date very certain. i would say at least the initial, again, we'll start with a couple of teams using intrinsic assets that are already there that will be between three and five additional assessment teams
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coming in and they will will be, largely as i said before remissioned from assets and personnel that are in the central command region and i would expect that you will start to see additional teams flow in outside of the first couple over the next week or so. >> so this is the whole issue that we, you know, there's no residual force close to 2011 over this issue and the domestic iraqi politics on this were very complex. why are you so sure that these individuals will have protections? why wouldn't it possibly be on the same issues as extending protections in 2011? >> first of all, what we were talking about post-2011 was a fairly sizeable force of american troops that would remain in iraq for a long period of time. what we're talking about here is a very small number, up to 300,
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whose mission will be of a limited duration. that's one. two, these additional teams are being sent at the request of the iraqi government. we were starting from 2011 from a place where we already had tens of thousands of troops there completing a combat mission. so this is at the trequest of te iraqi government. so we're -- we're doing this -- obviously, it's in our national interest as well, but clearly, the iraqi government sees it as beneficial to the security of the iraqi people and then, as i said, we're in constant consultation with them. we're not concerned about the fact that there won't be the appropriate legal protections for these extra personnel. >> what kind of limited
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duration? will that codify these agreements? >> i'm not negotiating the terms of the legal protections of what they'll be afforded or the timeframe is, so i wouldn't be in a position to tell you that, and yes, we're pursuing something in writing. i think there was a question about that. the secretary is absolutely committed to making sure that our troops have the legal protections and he would not do that on a nod and wink. >> what the president said yesterday doesn't seem to have time limits on it. >> i don't think there has been a firm deadline on this. so i wouldn't get out ahead of that, but we're not re-introducing american troops into iraq for a lengthy stay and certainly not to participate in combat action. this was a discreet measure, a
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temporary arrangement and i said at the outset to get eyes on the the ground to figure out what's going on and get a better sense of it to create the kind of intelligence that we need should the president decide to take other action and also to give us a sense of the state of the iraqi security forces. >> temporary means weeks, months? >> i'm not going characterize it? temporary. this isn't going to be a long-term mission of the united states military. it's not an occupation. it's not an invasion. again, back to what i said before this was at the invitation of the iraqi government. no, marcus. no, i've got you, marcus. i know, all your questions are more important than everybody else's. >> is there an estimate on what this will cost the troops? >> i don't know what the cost
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estimate is going to be for this, but, clearly, you know, this is an important mission and it will be funded appropriately. i can't tell you whether the funds will come out of oco or whether it will be detailed in the upcoming oco request. >> do you have any estimate on when that will go to the hill? >> as you heard the secretary say the other day, we expect it to be substantially lower than what was put at the place holder. >> not to split hairs on this, when you say legal protections that would include u.s. troops being immune from iraqi -- the iraqi judicial system? >> that is the central core theme of the kind of legal protections that we pursue, yes. >> and second, have you seen any early read on any kind of equipment that up to 300 advisers would bring with them? i mean, helicopters, will they
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take vehicles? >> no, no, no, courtney, again, these are the first will be guys doing assessments and so they will be -- they will have personal arms to protect themselves if they need it. as i said, they'll have the right of self-defense, and i think the same will be true for any follow-on teams of advisers that would come and they'll be certainly armed and equipped to defend themselves and this is not -- this is not a major mechanized movement here and that's not the goal and the president was crystal clear. this is not a combat mission. >> well, as i said, they're going to be embedded at least initially at the higher headquarters level down to only about the brigade level. so they'll be at staff levels and to the degree -- >> still brigade headquarters. >> yeah. >> they'll be transported to the places they need to be transported and i don't exactly
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have every detail of -- right now how they're going to get anywhere they're going to get to, but they'll be placed at the appropriate level and at the appropriate time. >> can i do a follow-up on that, please? thank you. could you better describe these forces? is there a reason that you're only calling them advisers and units? can you just say they're green bereters on is that not something you want to do publicly? >> the secretary called them special operators and they'll be special operators and i'll remind you that's a mission that special operations troops perform routinely. it's part of their -- >> we can call them green berets. >> i wouldn't do that if i were you. they're special operators and i'm not going detail beyond that. i'm go not going detail beyond that. >> could they be laying the groundwork for air strikes in the future? >> i'll say it again, they are to do some initial assessments and to eventually advise. that's the mission. as you say calling in air
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strikes. that connotes a combat mission. this is not the mission that they have been assigned. they are not there on a combat mission and i am not going to speculate. >> in order to help the president make future follow-on missions, that's what the troops will be doing that's all they will be doing. >> richard? >> the operations center in the north is that erbil? >> all i can say right now is northern iraq. i don't believe that final arrangements have been made for the exact location. >> joe? >> i did ask you the same question last friday. can you con term if there are any iranian revolutionary guards inside iraq? any information on that? >> what i can say is that we certainly have ind kakzs that there are some iranian
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revolutionary operatives or revolutionary guard operatives in iraq, but i've seen no indication of ground forces or major units or anything of that sort. >> they are cooperating with the iraqi ministry of defense? >> i'll let the iranians speak for their activities and who they're talking to, but as i said, we have indications that there are at least some operatives inside iraq and, look, iran has -- their interference in iraq is nothing new and so i think it needs to be taken in that light. >> and do you have any number? >> small numbers would be our best indication. i'm not going to put a number figure on it, joe. small, small number. >> i've got time for one more. >> 300 advisers?
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>> tony? >> a couple of questions on the joint operation centers. what capability will they give the iraqis that they don't now possess? >> operation certanters in gene provide a forum and a hub to share information and intelligence and to also foster realtime communication between headquarters element and field elementses. so i think it makes perfect sense that one of the things that these initial two teams will do is help us assess what the resourcing would be for these two joint operation center, but i suppose they'll perform the same function that operation centers perform all over the world. >> as you set up assessment teams and as you set up jock, what is the military situation north of baghdad while all of this assessing is going on? is it a stalemate now between the isil and the iraqi security forces? >> i don't know if i would call
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it a stalemate, tony, clearly, isil still -- still craved geography, still -- are still involved in pretty violent activities. what we are seeing, though, is that -- and i said this the other day that in and around baghdad it does appear as if the iraqi security forces aided by some shia militia, no question, are stiffening their resistance and fighting where and when needed to. you've all been following the issue of the oil refiner base and it is unclear in whose hands it sit, but it is also very clear that iraqi security forces have been trying to prevent it being taken over by isil. so we're starting to see some cohesiveness and some fight and that's certainly encouraging, but nobody's calling it a stalemate and certainly nobody's
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willing to stop monitoring it or to stop having a shared sense of concern about the progress that isil has made and very quickly so. >> there's going to be a missile defense test. nobody's going to care about this until sunday afternoon if it hits or misses. what is the significance of this test in terms -- if it misses what are the implications and what will it allow the united states to do that it can't at this point do? >> yeah. let me just -- >> you'll get a call sunday afternoon. [ inaudible question ] >> well, you're right. we are conducting another test of the exoatmospheric kill vehicle and i actually said that without tripping on it. this weekend will be the second test of this particular vehicle, admiral searing testified to this earlier. we feel very good about this test coming up.
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now it's not been a program without its challenges. if it doesn't go well, first of all, we'll let you know how it goes and no question about that and if it doesn't go well, we'll do what we did last time. we'll review it and investigate it and figure out what happened and what didn't happen and how to make the necessary fixes. we believe that we made the fixes needed to be made from the last test which was back in december of 2010 and so we're looking forward to this and we look forward to having a successful test. if it doesn't go well and if it doesn't succeed and it doesn't at all mean that the program isn't worthwhile or that it's not going to go forward. we're committed to this and we'll move forward again. >> what if it does succeed? what's the significance there? >> it's a very significant capability and i've heard it compared to hitting a bullet with a bullet. in this case, at that altitude
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it's like hitting a bb with a bb. it's pretty significant if it shows. it shows the commitment to the ballistic missile defense and capability and what it provides for our country and our allies and partners. i'll take one more, john. >> an individual apparently killed himself in arlington national cemetery. do you have any information as to whether he was a veteran? >> i don't have information. i know that arlington police are on the scene as well as army officials out there. we've seen the reporting of it, and i just -- i wouldn't be able to comment one way or another about what happened and why, but clearly, if it's true, it's very, very tragic and our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, but again, i wouldn't get ahead of an investigation which is just now starting. thanks, everybody. have a great weekend.
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irs commissioner john koskin appearing before a house panel this morning about missing emails in connection to an investigation into irs targeting of conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status. that entire hearing will air tonight at 8:00 eastern on our cam p companion network c-spin. >> this weekend, american history tv is live from the gettysburg college civil war institute saturday morning starting at 8:45 eastern. you'll hear historian peter carmichael on robert e. lee followed by brooks simpson on ulysses s. grant and historian kate nelson on krashc-span3.
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>> the committee on investigations held a meeting on high-frequency trading and that's using computeral ga rith rms to rapidly trade stocks and other securities. we'll hear from traders involved in the practice as well as the president of the new york stock exchange. this is two hours and 45 minutes. good morning, everybody. most americans' image of the u.s. stock market is shaped by a single room, the trading floor of the new york stock exchange where traders await a ceremonial bell to kick off the day's
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activity and then trade shares worth millions on scraps of paper. in reality, most shares are traded not on a floor in manhattan, but in racks of computer servers in new jersey. trades happen not at the speed of a human scribbling on paper, but in the milliseconds it takes for an order to travel through fiber optic cables. increasingly, the money made on stock markets comes not from thoroughly assessing companies for their investment potential, but from exploiting infiniteesimal advantages earning billions off price differences measured in penniep. we are in the era of high-speed trading. i am troubled, as many, of some of the hallmarks. it is an era of market
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instability as we saw in the 2010 flash crash. which the subcommittee and the southern banking committee explored in a joint hearing and in several market disruptions since that flash crash. it is an era in which stock market players buy the right to locate their trading computers closer and closer to the computers of stock exchanges, conferring a miniscule speed advantage yielding massive profits and it is an era in which millions of trade orders have placed and canceled in a single second, raising the question of whether much of what we call the market is, in fact, an illusion. many including this senator question whether the rise of high-speed trading is overall a good thing for markets and investors, but without question, this era has seen a rise of conflicts of interest.
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these conflicts will be my focus today. other senators may focus on this or other aspects of high-speed trading. new technologies should not erase enduring values. financial markets cannot survive on technology alone. they require a much older concept, trust and trust is eroding. conflicts of interest damage investors and markets, first, by depriving investors of the certainty that their brokers are placing the interest of their clients first and foremost, and second, by feeding a growing belief that the markets are simply not fair. in fact, polling shows that roughly two-thirds of americans believe the stock market unfairly benefits some at the expense of others. this distrust may be a factor in the fact that just over half of
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americans according to a gallup survey earlier this year own stock or mutual funds which is down from more than two-thirds of americans who owned stock or mutual funds in 2002. that lack of faith, if allowed to fester and grow will undermine a very important trust and purpose of stock markets to efficiently raise capital so that businesses may grow, create new jobs and add to america's prosperity. in previous hearings and investigations, this subcommittee has shown that our financial markets have become plagued by conflicts of interest. we've uncovered investment banks willing to create securities based on junk assets, tote them to their clients and bet against those same securities making them at the expense of their clients. we have seen credit rating agencies assign artificially
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high ratings to securities in order to keep or gain business. now with that history in mind, those who argue that the conflicts that we will explore at this hearing are manageable or acceptable have a mighty high burden of proof. what seems to your average investor to be a simple stock market trade is usually a complicated series of transactions involving multiple parties, complex technology, and the ever-increasing number of order types and payment arrangements. there are retail brokers like the ones found in main street offices across the country and on tv advertisements and there are wholesale brokers who buy orders from retail brokers and there are dozens of trading venues where shares are bought and sold. most americans know the new york stock exchange, but there are
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now 11 public exchanges and plus more than 40 alternative trading venues including dark pools which are essentially private exchanges run by financial institutions. as that complex structure has emerged so have a number of conflicts of interest. i will focus on two. the first conflict occurs when a retail broker chooses a wholesale broker to execute trades. the second occurs when a broker acting on behalf of either a retail client or an institutional investor that manages pension funds and retirement accounts chooses a trading venue, often a public exchange to execute a trade. at both of these decision points the party making the decision should only be influenced by the best interest of the investor. that's what ethics demands and it's what the law requires, but
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there is another factor in play. at both decision points, the current structure gives brokers an incentive to place their own interests ahead of the interest of their clients, and here's how. the first conflict which is illustrated in that chart occurs when retail brokers receive payments from wholesale brokers for their orders. this money known as payment for order flow can add up to untold millions and almost every retail broker keeps these payments rather than passing them on to clients. the reasons wholesale brokers are willing to pay for order flow are complex, but one big one is that wholesale brokers can fill many of those orders out of their own inventory and profit from the trade, a practice known as internalizing.
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the second conflict shown on the second chart arises when a broker decides to use a public trading venue and then chooses which venue it will send orders to for execution. under what is known as the maker taker arrange chlt there is an incentive for the broker to choose a trading venue based on the broker's financial interest, rather than the clients. maker taker can be complicated, but here is a simplified explanation. when a broker makes an offer, not an exchange to buy or sell a stock at a certain price, the broker is classified as a maker and most exchanges will pay the broker a rebate when that offer to buy or sell is accepted. a broker who accepts a maker's
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offer to buy or sell is called a taker and will generally pay a fee to the trading venue. the important thing to remember is that brokers, by maximizing maker rebates and by avoiding taker fees can add millions ever dollars to their bottom line giving them a powerful incentive to send the order to the trading venue that is in their best interest even if it is not in their client's best interest. it is significant that earlier this year speculation that regulators were considering restrictions on payment for order flow sent shares of some brokerage firms significantly lower. obviously, there is a lot of money at stake in preserving these conflicts of interest.
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even if firms des close these payments, disclosure does not excuse them from their legal and ethical obligations to clients. their legal obligation is to provide clients with what is known as best execution. whether they are meeting that obligation is a subjective judgment. the outcome of the subjective judgment affects the way tens of millions of trades are executed. now some who profit from these payments argue that seeking this revenue does not interfere with their obligation to seek best execution. however, one of our witnesses today, professor robert batalio of the university of notre dame has done research indicating that when given a choice four leading retail brokers send
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their orders to the markets, offering the biggest rebates at every opportunity. the research further suggests that exchanges offering the highest rebates do not, in fact, offer the best execution for clients. these brokers argue that they can pocket these rebates while still meeting the obligation to provide clients with best execution. so while they make a subjective judgment as to which trading venue provides best execution on tens and millions of trades a year, that subjective judgments also just happens to also result in the biggest payment to brokers. i find it hard to believe that this is a coincidence.
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many market participants are worried about the conflicts of interest embedded in the current market structure. in addition to professor batallio this panel will include bradley katsuyama. the president and ceo of iex, and a prominent wall street advocate for market reform. our second panel will include four witnesses, thomas farley of the new york stock exchange, whose corporate owners have described conflicts as having a, quote, corrosive impact, a corrosive impact, close quote, on stock markets. the next person on the second panel is joseph raderman of bats global markets, which operates exchanges that compete with the new york stock exchange and has a different view. the third witness on the second
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panel is joseph brennan, of vanguard group. a major mutual fund company that has expressed concerns about these conflicts. the fourth witness in the second panel is steven quirk of td ameritrade. a retail broker that deviefs significant revenue from payment for order flow, from wholesale brokers, and from rebates that they receive from exchanges. the duty of lawmakers and financial regulators is to look out for the interests of investors and the wider public. there is significant evident that these conflicts can damage retirement savings, pension holdings, and other investments on which americans rely. even americans without a single share of stock or a mutual fund account have something at stake, because stock markets exist to
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foster investment growth, and job creation. conflicts of interest jeopardize that vital function. americans don't shy from innovation or technology. indeed we embrace them. but americans are understandably suspicious when technology can be turned against them and their family's financial interests. they are rightly concerned when technology and innovation are used to undermine basic enduring principles such as trust and duty to a client. our goal is to advance the protection of investors and our free markets by promoting those enduring values. i want to thank senator mccain and his staff for their close cooperation in this matter as has always been the case in all matters. senator mccain. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i think this is a very important
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hearing. i appreciate the hard work that you and your excellent staff have done on it. i want to thank the witnesses for being here today. when michael lewis's book flash boys came out, the public knew very little about high frequency trading. important questions were raised. is the stock market rigged by unethical high-speed traders with faster access to market information, advanced technology, and sophisticated trading algorithms? is high frequency trading adding costs for other traders without contributing any real value to the market? will stock markets face another flash crash like in 2010 when the dow jones temporarily lost $1 trillion in market value in 20 minutes. these concerns about high frequency trading have fuelled
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suspicions that wall street may well have become the ultimate insiders game, where the average investor can no longer meaningfully participate. consumers see firms that can make trades in fractions of a second using cutting-edge technology and wonder if the stock exchanges are still a place where their interests matter. hopefully this hearing will shed light on the high frequency trading practices used on wall street, and help restore confidence in our financial system. the subcommittee involved many industry participants, academic researchers, and key financial regulators. while the problems facing the market are complex, we can address them with a few commonsense solutions. for example, one of the most predatory high frequency trading practices depends on the unintended consequences of the s.e.c.'s regulatory national market system, or reg nms.
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that regulation essentially mandated that investment firms must buy or sell stocks at the best price available. while that might sound like a reasonable requirement. high frequency trading firms can take advantage of the rule by putting out offers to buy or sell small amounts of stock at attractive prices. when a large investor, seeking to make a big order, accepts the high frequency trading firm's offer because it's the best price available, the high frequency trader can predict that the large investor will have to go to another exchange to purchase the rest of his order. the high frequency trader can then race ahead of that investor to the other exchanges, buy up all available shares, and sell them to the large investor at a higher price. changing reg nms so that investment firms are no longer legally required to take the high frequency trader's bait is
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an early, clear, first step to cleaning up the worst high frequency trading practices. another key tactic used by high frequency trading firms is co-location. this practice involves trading firms literally renting space for their computers in the same room as the computers that run the stock exchanges, so that they can receive market information directly from the exchanges' computers as fast as possible. the investors that don't buy this direct connection to the exchanges receive market data via a government established system using out-of-date technology called the securities information processor, that compiles market data much more slowly. but as experts told the subcommittee, there's no reason why public data feeds like the securities information processor can't be improved so that they're effectively as fast as private data feeds acquired through co-location.
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updating the technology and the securities information processor is another helpful measure that can be quickly adopted to shore up consumer confidence in the market. in addition to high frequency trades "flash boys" also described how stock exchanges often pay rebates, as senator levin pointed out, to stock brokers to entice them to trade on those exchanges. those rebates, as again senator levin pointed out, called maker taker payments, create an appearance conflict -- an apparent conflict of interest for the stock brokers, who must choose between sending their client's orders to exchanges offering a high rebate, or to exchanges that would fill the orders as quickly as possible. while many trading firms argue that those payments spur more market activity, and reduce costs for consumers, some experts have argued that these benefits are minimal, and that investors are harmed by their broker's conflict of interest.
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the subcommittee has found that there is a lack of publicly available data regarding maker taker payments. leading to difficulties in determining whether the payments actually have an adverse effect on the market. a logical first step would be to have more transparency in the payments allowing neutral researchers to study the issue in greater detail. i hope this hearing will educate the public about high frequency trading and broker conflicts of interests and i hope that has a result of this hearing and the information that we will obtain from our expert witnesses, that action will be taken to restore confidence, which has clearly been eroded in recent months, especially since the publication of michael lewis' book. i thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you very much. senator johnson? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i also want to thank you for holding this hearing. very interesting getting prepared for it.
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both chairman levin and senator mccain mentioned the word complex. there's no doubt about what's happening in terms of trading is highly complex. from my standpoint having been an individual investor, i think the primary solution is in increases competition and transparency so we really understand what's happening. because it is complex it's difficult to fully understand. i'm hoping this hearing will really lay out the reality of the situation. again as an individual investor who's bought stocks for literally decades, the competition has increased in the marketplace. i used to have pay hundreds of dollars to buy 100 shares of stock. now i pay about $10. so i really do hope that this hearing conveys exactly what is happening in the marketplace, what benefits have come to consumers over the years, what dangers may be out there. but the bottom line is this hearing should be about restoring confidence. i don't think it restores confidence if you try and create a state of fear.
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and set up strawman in terms of the boogiemen out there trying to game the system. the best way to ensure confidence, the best way to ensure best price, is through maximum competition, and transparency of the marketplace. i'm hoping that's certainly what this hearing reveals, and again i just want to thank all the witnesses. i'm looking forward to the testimony. >> thank you, senator johnson. we'll now call our first panel of witnesses for this morning's hearing. professor robert battalio, professor of finance at the mendoza college of business at the university of notre dame. in notre dame, indiana, and bradley katz yam ma, president and ceo of the iex group in new york. i appreciate both of you being with us this morning.

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